I'm very thankful to have been sent a copy of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by the lovely Angela at Wunderkind PR. This book was originally published in 2011 under the title The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan (the new title is indeed catchier and took me longer than I'd care to admit to puzzle out). The author, Kim Barker, was a foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune who didn't know the language, culture, or the significance of the countries she was assigned. And yet, she managed to feel more at home in Afghanistan and Pakistan (to a lesser extent) than she could have ever anticipated. This is a gritty, comedic, and tragic story of war and the impotence one feels when thrust into the middle as an outsider (or an insider even). At times, I felt the pull of adventure much as Kim did. I imagined myself country hopping and getting to know the ins and outs of various peoples. (After all, I do have a degree in Anthropology.) And then there would be a vivid description of the violence and destruction of war that never seems to have an end. I marvel at her willingness (and eagerness) to stay and experience it firsthand. She says it's an addiction and she continually talks about being in its throes. It is not glamorous and she doesn't sugarcoat it. In fact, she criticizes the foreign governments who refuse to see the truth of the situation. I don't think I will ever look at reporting the same way ever again. You might have guessed that I really enjoyed it. It's a solid 10/10 especially as it highlighted an area of the world that I feel woefully ignorant of...until now!
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is out today and is being adapted into a film due out March 4th starring Tina Fey (also Martin Freeman who I think I've recognized from the book and I'm excited). I hope that it stays relatively close to the book if not in content then in feeling. I think it's a wake-up call that is sorely needed.